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Issue 19 - UKOTCF

Issue 19 - UKOTCF

What Next? Further

What Next? Further Opportunities We need to keep in touch, in order to benefit from our shared learning; this is increasingly easy with modern communications. For example, do please use the Forum’s database. We should also think about meeting again — not too soon, because it is exhausting to organise these meetings! More importantly, however, we must allow ourselves enough time to apply our new ideas and achieve conservation, before devoting time to exchanging this knowledge. Probably, about two years’ time might be about right. Several places may be interested in being the venue. We are aware that Bermuda has already expressed some interest, but so too have other places. One plea from the Forum: if hosts want the Forum to be involved, please get in touch early — as Gibraltar kindly did — because we all suffer from restricted human capacity! In terms of other actions, we all need to push forward the initiatives and ideas we note above, and others. Indeed, one important area which embraces many others concerns strategic environmental planning. This really means sorting out our priorities, working out the responsibilities of the various stakeholders in achieving these; and using this process to make sure that these actions happen, including: 1. Development of user friendly, dynamic management plans; 2. Seek to update our legislation to make it more effective and enforceable; 3. Persevere to ensure that Trust funds are used as intended; 4. Expand education initiatives wherever possible, especially involving the users; 5. Encourage the consistent use of EIAs for development initiatives; 6. Continue and expand the ongoing dialogue with the UK Government to impress upon them the obvious need for adequate funding and technical assistance to ensure that UK’s OTs can work towards achieving sustainable livelihoods through the environmental sector of their economies; 7. NGOs must continue to provide policy makers with full detailed information to avoid perceived distrust. So, let’s not forget the enthusiasm of the Calpe 2000 meeting. Let us build upon that enthusiasm and direct our efforts into working on the ideas outlined above to use the experience of the meeting to progress conservation. IGUANA CALYPSO (to the tune of Caribbean folk song Mathilda) (Chorus) Iguana, iguana Iguana come from Venezuela To Gibraltar (repeat) One day I’m sitting in the sun Like a nice iguana gentleman Next day I’m inside a knapsack Across the ocean (Chorus) Well I survived a hurricane Lightning, thunder, wind and rain Floated on logs ‘cross the water To reach Anguilla (Chorus) I want to be left alone In my warm tropical home Please don’t buy me for plenty money Or you’ll be sorry (Chorus) Ijahnya, Calpe 2000 DEVELOPING BIODIVERSITY MANAGEMENT CAPACITY AROUND THE RAMSAR SITE IN THE TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS. The Darwin Initiative Project to develop biodiversity is progressing well, jointly led by Turks and Caicos National Trust, CABI and the Forum. The background to this project, appointment of project officer and related work by TCNT running small business workshops for local people are all described in the project’s first newsletter, available on request or downloadable from the Forum’s web-site www.ukotcf.org: click Territories on the side menu; click Turks & Caicos; the link to the newsletter is at the bottom of that page, together with a link to download Acrobat Reader (needed to view the newsletter and some other pages) if you do not already have that loaded. In November, specialists on plants, reptiles, amphibians and birds visited, and major groundtruthing was done to classify vegetation types with the help of remote sensing. At the request of UK and TCI Governments, the opportunity was taken to start work on producing an accurate map of the Ramsar site. Early in 2001, the second group of specialists will be present to work with local residents, on plants, insects and bats. The government has agreed to transfer a disused school to the Trust to act as an environmental centre on Middle Caicos (and base for the later stages of the Darwin work, and any follow-up); the Trust is seeking funds to allow repair and implementation. Conference delegates were able to visit the Barbary macaques. Gibraltar supports the only wild monkey population in Europe. The Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society are responsible for their well being 4

THREAT FROM SPACE AVERTED October 24, 2000 This week Texas multimillionaire Andy Beal announced the winding up of his attempt to break the US and French governments’ dominance of the very lucrative space launching business. In 1998 Beal Aerospace announced its intention to launch satellites into space from the Caribbean using their own rockets made in their plant at Houston. After investigating a number of sites, Beal decided to assemble his rockets in the US Virgin Islands and launch them from Sombrero Island, an almost uninhabited small island, which is part of Anguilla, an Overseas Territory of the UK. Both of these sites seemed ideal at first and politicians in both St. Croix and Anguilla were very keen on the project. The general public were largely unaware of the issue until conservationists were alerted that an environmental impact assessment was under way. At this point, RSPB, working with the Anguilla National Trust, stepped in to draw attention to the international importance of this isolated island for seabirds, lizards and other biodiversity. Since the UK Government would have been required to licence each launch, we raised questions concerning the UK’s responsibilities for biodiversity conservation as well as issues about security and liability. RSPB closely studied the Environmental Assessment Beal had commissioned and it was clear that for the impact on biodiversity at least, it was grossly inadequate. To get better information on the island’s importance, we organised a team comprising an ornithologist, Tony Murray, an entomologist, Dr Michael Ivie from the University of Montana and Dr Jenny Daltry, a herpetologist from Fauna and Flora International, to visit Sombrero. They found the island far more important than anyone had guessed, recording a number of species that are possibly new to science. Ijahnya Christian of the Anguilla National Trust was outspoken on the way the Sombrero proposal had been dealt with locally and she is compiling a study of the lessons learned. “I believe that a fundamental flaw in the entire process stems from a seeming inability to appreciate value in terms other than economic value, and an understanding of development that is synonymous with revenue-generating potential. In fact, the Sombrero case reminds me of the argument, raised some time ago, that the sixth form at Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School should be abolished because someone thought it was not economically viable”. “It is neither wise nor prudent to begin the development application process with the signing of agreements. In future we may need to require more than a prospective investor’s dollars, or the scientific credentials of his or her experts; we may also need character references. Of course, the would-be investor may require the same of us.” Jim Stevenson, who lead the campaign against Sombrero on behalf of the RSPB stated: “When Beal Aerospace established its criteria to select an ideal location as a launch site, none of them gave any consideration to avoiding damage to important biodiversity. If it had, Sombrero would never have been targeted as a location. The environmental assessment commissioned by Beal dealt inadequately with impacts on biodiversity. Again if it had been done properly, much time and money could have been saved. The world will probably never know whether these omissions were a deliberate attempt to bulldoze over the world’s heritage in pursuit of a fast buck, or just ignorance? Either way not taking biodiversity seriously from the outset has certainly cost Andy Beal dear.” He went on to remark “ It would be nice to see that concerned local people could on their own be successful in closing down an environmentally unsound project on their doorstep, but when confronting large industry with overwhelming and international resources, local citizens need the kind of help that I am delighted RSPB was able to provide. Together environmentalists in Anguilla, St. Croix, Guyana, the USA and the UK, have worked to raise awareness of and finally to see off Andy Beal’s plans. We are all relieved to see the back of this project.” Jim Stevenson RSPB International Officer Global Programmes 5 UPDATE ON CAPACITY-BUILDING FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN ANGUILLA A WWF/Darwin funded project The implementation of the Darwin capacity-building project in Anguilla has given new life and action to the development of Big Spring, a ceremonial Arawak site in the community of Island Harbour. The Darwin project is supporting a community co-management approach to resource management that has engendered a partnership between the Anguilla National Trust, the Government of Anguilla and the Island Harbour Community represented by the Big Spring Action Committee. With the departure of former consultant Tom McCarthy, a young Canadian former volunteer, Valerie Green was hired as Big Spring Project Co-ordinator to maintain the momentum of this initiative. Her work has produced a flora listing for the site and a public awareness brochure on protected areas that will be used to stimulate national discussion on a system of protected areas for the island. The Big Spring Project is also providing a fillip for action on the part of the Government of Anguilla to develop legislation for the establishment of parks and protected areas in fulfilment of a major objective of the Darwin project. Other linkages demonstrate the timeliness of the Darwin project. At the national level it enabled the Trust to make a strong contribution during workshops in July and September 2000, to design a National Environmental Management Strategy (NEMS) for Anguilla. The process is being coordinated by the Government of Anguilla office of the Parliamentary Secretary (Environment) with technical assistance being provided by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States - Natural Resources Management Unit. In December 2000 recommendations for legislative development from the feasibility study for the development of the Fountain Cavern were also reviewed and integrated into the overall considerations for a legislative package. The Fountain Cavern has been included on the UK list of sites nominated for UNESCO World Heritage listing. At the regional level the Trust’s Executive Director is bringing new learning experiences to the process from her participation in two CANARI (Caribbean Natural Resources Institute) regional workshops to review participatory approaches to resource management. The first of these workshops was held in Antigua in July 2000 and the second will be held in Tobago in January 2001. The Darwin project will also support the participation of the Trust’s Associate Executive Director Karim Hodge in a Ramsar Workshop in Trinidad and Tobago in December 2000. The project’s new consultant is Floyd Homer of Trinidad and Tobago, who has extensive experience of working with Governments, NGOs and communities in the Caribbean region and who began to make very useful inputs to the legislative review even before he got the job. Ijahnya Christian

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